Upon the request of a teacher-friend, I am reposting here a lesson I delivered for Education students of the Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod in 2002 (or was it 2003?). There are now some things here that can be considered obsolete, e.g. the reference to Netscape which has been practically replaced by a more powerful research tool in Mozilla FireFox and the citation styles which has become more standardized in the years between the first time this lesson was delivered and the moment I post it here. This article was originally posted at the old AgustinongPinoy Resource Site.

Internet Research  

Lesson Plan (50 Minute Lecture + Internet Session)

Prepared by: Fr. Alberto L. Esmeralda, OSA

Description: A class on Web-based research that:

  1. will familiarize students with terminology relevant to Web research;
  2. explain how the gathering and cataloguing of web-data is done using the facilities of a PC;
  3. show how a search engine functions

At the end of the class, the students will have:

1. understood the meanings of the following Web related terms:

  • The Internet
  • Browser
  • Web pages
  • URL
  • Hyperlink.
  • Web Site.
  • Homepage
  • Search Portal
  • Search Engine
  • Web Ring

2. understood how to gather Web-data and to catalogue them

3. known the proper way of citing electronic documents.

4. experienced how to access Web-data using a Search Engine


A. A Review of Important Terms:  

1. The Internet : A global network of computers. There is a part of that network which can be accessed through the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol by means of a Browser. It is called the WWW (World Wide Web).. Note: http://www.xxxxxx

2. Browser : It is a software dedicated to accessing Web pages. Example: I.E. Netscape, Mosaic, Opera, Amaya, etc. Some advanced Web browsers (like Netscape and IE) can even play music from files on the Web or display web graphics.

3. Web pages: Text files that are coded for viewing through a browser. The codes used for making ordinary text files readable through a browser is called Hyper Text Markup Language.


To see how web pages are coded:
Internet Explorer:
(a) Right click on a web page
(b) On the Context Menu, choose View Source
Netscape:
(a) On the Browser, click on “View”
(b) Choose Page Source
Note: In Internet Explorer, the web page opens up in Windows Notepad, and can therefore be saved through a text application. In Netscape, the source code opens up in a non-editable window.

4. URL Uniform Resource Locator (URL). It comes in the form http://www.nameofsite.com

It is composed of the following elements:
The Transfer Protocol + the Domain

To access a page on the Web, one can type the URL on the Browser. eg. http://www.yahoo.com

5. Hyperlink. An element in a web page that allows a surfer to go from one page to another. This normally appears in three forms: a linked text, an image link, and an image map. Hyperlinks are activated using normally a mouse pointer.

 <a href="thepage.html">Click Here</a>

And normally appears as Click Here

6. Web Site – a collection of web pages linked to one another by an overarching theme theme.

7. Homepage — a web page or a web site that one uses as the starting point for surfing. [Some websites — Yahoo, Lycos — offer the possibility of personalizing a homepage] To make a website one’s homepage, press [CTRL+D]

8. Search Portal — A website dedicated to the search for information through the web. A search portal contains categorized links and a search engine. A Search Portal example: http://www.yehey.com

9. Search Engine — a web-based application that facilitates the search for web pages. It has a database of links that one can choose from by typing in keywords inside a form box.


A Search can be of four kinds:

As to Location of Sites. Site-specific or Web-based. A site-specific search searches web pages inside a particular site. A web-based search accesses multiple databases through different web sites.

As to State of Refinement. Simple or Advanced Search. A Simple Search uses a keyword to query a database. An Advanced Search employs keywords with Boolean functions (AND, AND OR, etc.)

10. Web Ring — Different websites sharing the same theme and linked together by means of a specially constructed HTML code. e.g. The Catholic Web Ring; Teachers’ Net Web Ring.


Web Research 

The term “research” denotes a process of collecting, reviewing, analyzing, synthesizing and presenting data in answer to a problem. The term “Internet Research” specifies where the data will be coming from. Thus, the title speaks of:

(a) the kind of data to be collected (coming from the Web)
(b) how it is to be accessed
(c) how it is to be presented (in footnotes and bibliography)

Thus the three parts of the lesson:
(a) Web Data (E-Text)
(b) The Search Engine (and other ways of Searching)
(c) The Rules for Citing Electronic Texts

A. Web Data. There are mainly two kinds of data found on the Web.

(1) Data coming from web surfers themselves. Data coming from web surfers are posted through Forms that are either sent as email or are processed through programs written for the purpose (e.g. Computer Gateway Interface (CGI) programs, PERL or SQL). Examples:

a) The forms one fills up for a free service is part of a company’s market research.

b) Discussion Forums where one can post an article to be reviewed by another

(2) Data coming from materials published on the Web. Web publications come in the form of downloadable e-books (which appear as programs with the *.exe file extension) or HTML documents that one can save in a hard drive or print from a browser window.

At the moment, only owners of web sites can do research based on Form Submissions. Most web researchers access web publications.

B. Accessing Web Publications: Search — Save — Catalogue

1. Search. Use a search engine (for automatic search) or search by mouse click (for manual searches).

2. Save. Save the document to the hard drive for printing and cataloguing later on.


Caution: Web pages are often saved by browsers with everything associated with them. Example: When I.E. saves web pages, it automatically creates an extra folder wherein to place all the associated elements of the saved web pages (images, javascript). This can be difficult on the download, and on space in the hard drive.

With I.E. it is best to convert the document to text first, and then to save it. With Netscape, one can open the page in Composer, take out all images and javascripts, before saving the page as text.

3. Catalogue. Arranging materials according to categories can be done offline if e-documents have been saved.

In cataloguing e-documents, one should not forget to state the URL of the said document. Example: If a page has been downloaded from http://www.mysite.com/page1.html, it should be catalogued using that link.

C. How To Cite Electronic Documents   

The following information is from http://www.masu.nodak.edu/divisions/hss/meartz/biblio.html. It seems to be a well-researched source for how to cite materials found on a web site.

The citation of Internet sources is new, and not all style sheets have fully accommodated the growing need to cite these types of materials. Remember that the goal of this process is to give the creators of material credit for their work (at the same time identifying that the work does belong to someone else) and to allow the reader of your material to find the referenced materials. Internet-sourced items run into trouble on the last item. The identification their location can be difficult, and some addresses can be very long.

The style sheets that have identified methods to cite work on the Internet seem to follow their traditional systems, with the exception of the addition of wording to mark the item as from the Internet, and changes to the place and publisher notations.

American Psychological Association (APA)

The APA (1994, 218) suggests that World Wide Web citations follow this form:

Last Name, First Initial. (year). Title of the article. Name of Periodical [On-line]. Available: specify path.

A real example would be as follows:

Meartz, P. (1995). The rule of 90+. The Island Sun.[On-line]. Available: http://www.vcsu.nodak.edu/masu/geogpol.html

Of additional note is that since E-mail and USENET newsgroups are not permanent forms, the APA suggests that you follow the personal communication format for them (1994, 174). They are not to be included in the reference list in APA style, thus if I were giving a reference for this concept and had received it in an E-mail letter, I would end my sentence with its citation (P. Meartz, personal communication, October 17, 1995), but no mention would be made in the reference list at the end of the document.

The MLA [Modern Language Association]

The MLA (Gibaldi 1995, 151-167) suggests that World Wide Web citations follow this form:

Last Name, First Name. "Title in Quotation Marks." Date. Title of the Database or Web Page. Online. Internet. Date accessed.

Meartz, Paul. "The Rule of 90+." 1995. The Island Sun. Online. Internet. 17 Oct. 1995.

Do note that the MLA has numerous variations identified for Online and other sources. The nature of the Web Page–is it an electronic magazine, a personal page, etc–makes a difference. Consult the manual for full information.

Chicago and Other Simple Citations by Example

The following sample shows several types of citations and uses the Turabian/Chicago style format with a reference list at the end. [Do note that, as far as we are aware, Turabian/Chicago does not have a clear Internet form at this time, and the form shown is speculation based on their general format.] The items used include books, encyclopedias, magazines, and scholarly journals. Many other types are possible. [See the style manuals for those.]

Meartz (1987) found bankruptcies to be a serious threat to North Dakota’s future. Meanwhile, in Venezuela, the exploration of the interior highlands continues without the mention of concern for the problems in North Dakota (George 1989, 526). But it is being said in certain places that, “timber was being carried away at high speed” (Orwell 1976, 95). Some places have found the issue silly (Encyclopedia Zots, 1992), while others have devoted pages to it (Carmarto 1991). The theft of lumber has even generated its own home page on the web (Luther 1995)

At the end of the document you would find the following:

List of References [or Bibliography, or Selected Bibliography]

Luther, David. 1995. Lumber page growing. New Pages Web Site. Available: http://www.netco.com/lumber/tree.html

Bibliography

American Psychological Association. 1994. Publication Manual. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Gibaldi, Joseph. 1995. Handbook for Writers of Research Papers New York: Modern Language Association.

Turabian, Kate. 1987. A Manual for Writers. 5th ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.

Update (November 2005)

Please check the following more recent links for tutorials on searching the web

To complete this update, change your browser to Mozilla FireFox. It is definitely better than Microsoft’s I. E.